DeAndre Jordan was intentionally fouled by the Golden State Warriors with just under four minutes left in Thursday night’s game. After missing both free throws, Jordan was pulled by Clippers Coach Doc Rivers one second later.
But about 30 seconds later, Rivers reinserted Jordan into the game, showing his center that he had confidence in him to be a factor in the fourth quarter.
With 2:23 left, Jordan was intentionally fouled again by the Warriors, and again he missed both free throws. Fourteen seconds later, Jordan was pulled again by Rivers.
But with 1:37 left in the game, Rivers put Jordan back into the game.
Rivers said Jordan is “too good” on defense for him not to be in the game.
“I told him, ‘If you miss two [free throws], get a stop and they don’t gain anything,’” Rivers said about his conversation with Jordan while he was on the bench. “He’s just playing so well and doing so many things.
“I keep telling him, ‘Don’t let the missed free throws sidetrack you. You’ve been one of the most dominant forces on the floor. So what? Everybody’s got a weakness. You just to keep playing through it.’ He’s too good and he means more to us than free throws.”
Jordan was 0 for 4 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, three for 12 for the game.
But Jordan rewarded Rivers’ faith him by collecting a game-high 17 rebounds, 10 on the offensive boards. Jordan was also active on defense, getting two steals and one blocked shot.
Jordan rarely played in the fourth quarter of games last season under former Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro.
Things appear to be different for Jordan under Rivers.
“It was definitely frustrating missing some,” Jordan said of the free throws. “But my teammates gave me confidence to go out there and keep shooting them the way I was shooting them.
“Ultimately, my goal is to go up there and at least make one out of two. But if I can make some and then help us get a stop, that’s more important.”